|Riassunto in Inglese:|
During the last few decades, the combined effects of natural and human activities acting on the Mediterranean Sea basin have caused a reduction in the swordfish (Xiphias gladius, L. 1758) population. In this project, we investigated the accumulation of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg) levels in the Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of swordfish during a five-year survey. In the marine environment, top predators such as swordfish accumulate high concentrations of toxic metals, and thus, potentially incur a high toxicological risk. Furthermore, heavy metals, such as chemical pollutants, have strong long-term effects on fish, and thus, constitute a high risk for the resource and humans that consume it. The aim of this work is to contribute to the assessment of the state of European swordfish population health. We analyzed muscle tissue from 56 specimens captured in Mediterranean and Atlantic areas for trace elements. Mean concentrations of Hg, Cd, and Pb were in the following ranges: 0.66-2.41, 0.04-0.16, and 0.97-1.36 mg/kg ww, respectively. These data suggest a need for continuous monitoring to avoid reductions in the population of this fish species of high commercial and ecological interest.